While it might feel hard to come by blended family resources, there are a handful of excellent books that we recommend, whether you’re a stepparent, a biological parent, or a child navigating the dynamics of a blended family. Here are five of the best, in our opinion:
“How To Be A Happy Stepmum” by Lisa Doodson
One of the best things about How To Be A Happy Stepmum is the way Lisa Doodson covers all of the different types of situations that a stepmother might be in (no kids of her own, kids from a previous marriage, or children with the new partner), and some of the challenges unique to each. There is plenty of excellent, research-backed advice in this book (coupled with example stories throughout), covering many of the common struggles, such as dealing with ex-partners, managing discipline, building relationships with stepchildren, and maintaining a healthy marriage. If you’re a stepmum at any stage of your journey, this one is a must-read.
“Surviving & Thriving in Stepfamily Relationships” by Patricia Papernow
If you’re looking for a comprehensive guide to understanding and navigating the intricate dynamics of stepfamily relationships – look no further. In Surviving & Thriving in Stepfamily Relationships, Patricia Papernow, one of the leading experts in the field of stepfamilies worldwide, draws on her years of research and clinical experience to explore the stages of stepfamily development, common challenges faced by stepfamilies, and effective strategies for building strong, resilient relationships. Whether you’re a step-parent, co-parent or part of a blended family dynamic, you’ll find this book is an invaluable resource and will become one of your ‘go-to’s’.
“The Other Mother” by Kelly Chandler
The Other Mother is the personal story of Australian woman Kelly Chandler, who shares her experiences forgoing her party days to become a ‘spare mum’ when she met a man with two sons. As well as sharing her journey into stepmotherhood and taking on shared responsibility for two mini-humans, she details how things became even trickier when they went on to have a child of their own. One of our personal favourites, this book provides a heartfelt and extremely relatable perspective, empowering stepmums to create positive connections within their blended families.
“Stepparenting” by Jeannette Lofas
Jeannette Lofas, one of the first trailblazers for stepfamilies and a renowned family therapist and stepparenting expert, offers guidance and support to stepparents in her book Stepparenting. She addresses common challenges faced by stepparents, including establishing boundaries, handling discipline, and managing conflicts within the family. Lofas provides practical tools and strategies to foster positive relationships with stepchildren and create a loving and supportive blended family environment.
“Setting Boundaries” by Dr Rebecca Ray
This is not a book targeted at blended families specifically, although we’ve included it here as setting boundaries is one of the most important things you can master as a stepparent or co-parent in a blended family, as they are the key to many of the emotional and practical difficulties we encounter in everyday life. In Setting Boundaries, Australian clinical psychologist and author Dr. Rebecca Ray explores the importance of boundaries in various aspects of life – including relationships, parenting, and self-care – and importantly, how to establish and communicate them effectively. What’s great about this book is the practical tips and depth of real-life examples. If you’re looking for ways to protect your mental health and wellbeing, it’s definitely worth a read.
Being in a blended family can be tricky. Read even one of these books and see how you feel on the other end… our guess is you’ll feel a whole lot more knowledgeable about all things blended families, better equipped to handle the challenges that come with being part of one and inspired to live your best blended family life.